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My MMO Game Design Blog

Mission : To create a new mmo system and world lore for a new mmorpg. Each of my posts will be continually updated with more details / implemented suggestions from comments posted as well.. I am heading in the direction of an evolution type game.

Author: Artermis

AoC Patch Notes 16th July

Posted by Artermis Tuesday July 15 2008 at 3:05AM
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Patch notes are freely available on the aoc test forums, and also the public official forums:

I actually got a warning the other day for posting these, but they are NOT under NDA. I had the warning removed :)


Known Issues:

* Group Loot is not working properly.

Preliminary Update Notes
*These notes do not necessarily reflect the final version that will be deployed on Live*

* A new levelup animation with sound should now occur for all players who level, while in or out of combat.
* Lootbags and other non-moving objects will no longer affect how many NPCs/players are visible in the vicinity.
* Fixed several causes of crashes and instability.
* Particle effects will no longer be played on the character selection screen.
* Returning to non-combat state from a PvP fight will now take 10 seconds (instead of 5). Mana and health regen will only start then.
* Mobs will now become unlocked to a player after 90 seconds, once the locked attacker stops attacking. This will allow other attackers to benefit from killing the mob.
* The loot bag target bar should no longer become 'stuck' onscreen.
* Clients with 'No Gore' selected will now have the same general fatality animations as the 'Gore' enabled clients, without the presence of actual decapitations and dismemberment.
* You will no longer lose your helmet when fatalitied.
* The looting need-greed duration was increased to 1 minute.
* Gemmed items should now work as intended and give their effect after teleports.
* Team buffs should now only refresh when necessary, and be properly canceled for members who leave.
* Leaving sneak or crouch will not slide your character around anymore.

* Combos and all other actions will be aborted when you start to charge.
* The combo chain will now be stopped when you begin a charge.
* You can no longer start combos in the middle of a charge.
* Dismembering fatalities should now show appropriate visual effects.
* You can now abort multihit combos without all the damage being rolled back.
* Aborting multihit combos will not make the target's health become desynced from the client/server anymore.
* Fizzle and immunity rolls have been moved to the end of your spellcast. If your target becomes immune after you start your spellcast but before it deals damage, your target will resist the spell.
* Stealth is checked again at the end of your spellcast. If your target hides before you land the spell, your spellcast will fail.
* The distance to your target while casting a spell is checked again at the end of your spellcast, with a 25% bonus to your range.
* Line of sight to your target is checked again at the end of your spellcast.
* Combo finishers (the last attack in the combo chain) now have 25% extra range, making them easier to land in PvP.
* Mobs will keep you in combat from further away now.
* Aborting unarmed attacks (using a knockback, for example) will now properly cause the damage not to be dealt.
* Active Blocking now displays a buff in the debuff GUI indicating the effect.
* Active Blocking now has an initial stamina cost upon activation.
* Active Blocking has been modified to increase the player's shielding bonus rather than evade chance.
* Attacks and heals performed while in Active Blocking will now have reduced effect.
* Clickable abilities with instant effects will not be queued after your attack anymore, but executed right away.
* You cannot use abilities while jumping or falling anymore.
* Dying while knockbacking NPCs will not cause the npc to become stuck in combat mode anymore.
* For each attack in the combo chain that you do without a valid target, your end damage (on the combo finisher) is reduced 15% per miss.
* Attack animation speed should be more balanced between genders (note: this does not yet include the combo animations).
* Combat music has been tweaked so that tension music will be area specific, rather than random.

* An emote gui has been added. Press Y to access this window.
* An option to disable on-screen messages has been introduced. It can be found in Options > Interface > HUD.
* A chat command that allows reloading the GUI was added. The command is '/reloadui'
* Attackable players should now always have a red nametag, regardless of their level. Players that were 8 levels or more below the player previously had a gray nametag.
* Combo-triggered flying texts should no longer appear for combos that are not caused or directed at the client character any more.
* Defensive flying texts (i.e. parry) should now always appear above the correct character - the defender (not the attacker).
* Players should now be able to open the main options menu using "F10" while the rez window is up.
* Right-clicking inside active GUI elements should not reorient your character any more.
* Fixed a case of a stuck command progress bar.
* Effects that replenish stamina should now produce correctly signed flying texts (+XX Stamina).
* Added a visual and textual notification for attacks that are completely absorbed.
* Nametags should now be visible even if the character meshes have not completed loading.
* Spell damage to destructibles will now appear in the combat log.
* The mouse pointer will now always default to the arrow.
* Mousing over an NPC's corpse will not produce the sword icon any more.
* The Power session indicator and tooltip will now only appear when applicable, i.e. after level 5.
* Shift-clicking on a lootbag to autoloot everything should clear the target correctly once finished.
* Ranged combos will now appear red on your shortcutbar when your target is out of range, similar to spells.
* When attempting to share a quest, you will get feedback stating how many players in your team were too far away to receive it (if any).
* The quest journal will now show the money rewards divided by each type of currency.
* The Friends/Guild Members window has been changed. It now works with tabs that sort friends by type: Guild Members, Friends, Offline members, and Ignored characters.
* Floating/movable character portraits were added. They can be enabled from Interface > HUD options menu.
* The tooltip for spellweaving will no longer go outside of the screen.
* Fixed a GUI related crash.
* Implemented GUI Modifications on the skill window as support for the upcoming PvP Consequence System. PvE skills will be listed separate from PvP skills.
* Clicking on the active tab on the Friends View should now move the window. Clicking on disable tabs should also move the window.
* The healing modifier debuff for Active Blocking should now display correctly as -50%
* Made the middle action button (between Q and E) mappable. It is called Action Button 12. E is now called Action Button 13.
* Quest indicators should no longer appear on the ground.
* Added a PvP xp bar to the bottom of the screen as support for upcoming PvP changes. This will be enabled and disabled via the Interface options > HUD menu.
* The item links on the chat window will now show the proper item 'level color' (blue, green, etc).

* (Atzel's Approach) Kidnapping and Torture ; Diversionary Tactics Inner West - It should now be possible to ignite all palisades.
* (Atzel's Approach) Revenge of the Ape God - Location of this quest is now marked in the journal.
* (Black Ring Citadel) Bowls of Set, The Hunt - Quest will now complete when you speak to Kalanthes about it.
* (Conall's Valley) An Impending Attack - The location marker for Torin has been changed.
* (Field of the Dead) The Honored Dead - This is now a solo quest.
* (Kheshatta) Den of Evil Perversions - Has been fixed. Go find the Onyx Chambers, retrieve Hakar Tep's head, then return it to Zane. **If you currently have this quest, you MUST delete the quest and go pick it up again from Zane.***
* (Kheshatta) Mouth Of Darkness - Journal text has been updated. The Marker Rune is found near the entrance, rather than within it.
* (Kheshatta) Markers of the Lost Tomb - A goal marker has been added for the third objective.
* (Khopshef) Yipping Hyenas - Changed quest waypoint radius, to cover a larger area and more hyenas.
* (Khopshef) Usurping the Power - Now marked as a group quest.
* (Khopshef) Emerald Eyes - It should no longer be possible to walk through the door to the Emerald Guardians without first getting the quest.
* (Khopshef) Trapped by Lions - Timer has been changed to 10 minutes, instead of 10 hours.
* (Khopshef) The Swindler's Game, Shedding Torment, Stygian Superstitions, The Forgotten Temple, Fascinating Faces, Conflicting Interests - An item reward has been added to these quests.
* (Khopshef) Lusts of the Flesh - Alekeep in Caravansrai will now ask you for tin, not copper.
* (Tarantia Noble) Paetus & The Nemedian Crown - Coordinates have been updated within the Villa. The map item will now have a particle effect when you have the quest.
* (Tarantia Noble) Rahim and Lord Camillus - Rahim's dialog should now work properly when you tell him "Then this madman must be stopped". Player will receive a quest.
* (Tarantia Noble) Obtaining the Arena Key - Tweaked to make it more completable.
* Several typos corrected in many quests worldwide.

NPCs / Mobs
* Charmed NPCs will now be able to attack and perform actions while charmed.
* More NPCs should now be visible in the vicinity for several raid dungeons.
* NPCs wielding two handed weapons will now attack correctly.
* Knockback animations (the landing-animations in particular) will now be smoother for many creatures.
* Raid bosses should now be visible from further away, in most cases.
* Black Ring Citadel: Incubus and Succubus are now strong enough to knockback all players. Swamp demon's swamp has become increasingly more dangerous.
* Black Ring Citadel: Seruha will wait a little before closing the door.
* Conall's Valley: Wounded Vanir in Conall's Valley will no longer execute the same identical movements at the same time.
* Field of the Dead: Lieutenant Rhor has learned some new skills, and should no longer be so easy to defeat.
* Field of the Dead: The Lupine Superior boss has lost his floating wig. He will also spawn minions in a more correct manner.
* Khemi: Rhino name-plates should now be displayed properly and will no longer clip into the rhino.
* Kheshatta: Scorpion Archers should now attack more consistently at range.
* Kheshatta: Several NPCs with equipped weapons have been corrected.
* Tarantia Noble: Astrologer will no longer send you into a dialog loop.
* Tortage: Renton should no longer make strange sounds during the Destiny Mage quest.
* Underhalls: Litharia's patrol has been adjusted a bit, to end her walking through walls or pillars.
* Vistrix: All players that participate in the fight against Vistrix should now get his tooth.
* White Sands: Thrall Warrior armor has been tweaked so as to not clip anymore.
* Wild Lands: Oris should no longer send you into a dialog loop.

Player Character
* Dead team members will now get quest kill credit if they are within range.
* You now only prohibited from entering stealth mode if team members are in combat nearby.
* All your team members and their pets will now get the fatality buff when a team member performs a fatality.
* The mentor and apprentice will see an onscreen message regarding confirmation or declining of pending apprenticeship requests.
* Mesh effects during spellweaving should no longer rotate with the character.
* Characters will now display a smooth transition from standing to lying when using the 'prone' emote
* Shield of the Risen will only display particle effects on hidden players if they are on your team.
* Animations for the 'grin', 'laugh' and 'laughheartily' emotes have been tweaked for both male and female characters.
* Emote 'squirm_on_ground' has been renamed to 'lounge', to better fit the animation.


* The following abilities now have new effects: Cat's Paw, Opportunistic Strike, Kidney Shots, Avatar of Death, Lotus Overdose, Necrotic Leech, Corrupting Strikes, and Lunge.

* Feats "Eyes of Madness", "Rampaging Horde", "Welcoming Death", and "Too Many To Count" now have visuals associated with them.

* Earth Recharge ability will have a better visual indicator of activation.
* Let Them Burn should now have the correct cooldown.
* Let Them Burn will now properly increase in damage the longer it is channeled.
* Shockblast (Rank 1) and Inferno of Amher (Rank 1) will now scale correctly when compared to Rank 2. The additional splash damage of Shockblast now scales correctly, as it dealt more damage than intended previously.

* Frostblast now has a visual cone of frost.
* Ice Shackle spell is now less invasive and more optimized.
* The tooltip for Malefic Chant now shows up as intended.
* Night of the Harvester should now correctly increase the effect of the Harvester mana/stamina heal by 15/30%.
* To offset the change to Void causing the pet no longer to be rooted, the drain effect of Void has been reduced and now scales more consistantly based on level.
* Spell "Siphon Unlife" now has visuals and sound.
* The casting time of Set's Ruin, Set's Cold Hatred, and Blasphemy have been reduced from 4 seconds to 2 seconds.
* Parasitic Soul Swarm is now less invasive and should take up less screenspace.

Priest of Mitra
* The Spellweaving animation has been tweaked.

* The ranger's tracking list should now be sortable with distance.
* Dead NPCs and players will now longer appear when using the tracking ability.

Tempest of Set
* Set's Life Spark should now trigger a resurrection prompt instantly after dying.
* Puppets of Set should now draw the attention of nearby NPCs if you attempt to cast it on a group of NPCs.

* The special offer from Venes Venele, the Custom-made Saddle, is now unveiled and for sale!
* 'Bind on Equip' has been added to some items.
* The names of some sets of armor have been changed to be easier to discern what class they are intended for. Some visual looks of these armor sets have been tweaked.
* The Heart of the Earth weapon will now work for 2 handed blunt combos.
* Handguards of Ardent Fire now give 2handed Edge bonuses.
* Fine Steelsilk Leggings should now display its name properly
* Non-casters should now be able to see the effect of mana potions, even though they can't use them.
* Girdle of Clawing Might now properly gives Max Health and Max Stamina, as intended, instead of Max Health twice.

* Disabled ability to mount while charging.
* The tooltip for horses will no longer say "CANNOT USE" when the horse is usable.

* Removed the shift-right click "Enter heroic version" option from doors.

* Massive PvP: Mercenary players in a team with a guild member should no longer be hostile-flagged during battle.
* You will no longer be able to attack guild members on PvP servers.
* The Massive PVP gui will show up on a separate tab than Minigame PvP.
* If your pet does the most damage to a target in a minigame, you will now get credited for the kill instead of the pet.
* Ground targeting AOEs should now only be allowed if the player has line of sight to the target.
* The siege camps will now give a message when they are clicked on and the city is not vulnerable.
* You should no longer be able to damage your raid members on Culture PvP servers.

* You can now sort items for sale on the Tradepost by "Show Can Use Only" and "Show Can Buy Only".
* Powerful items (blue and green) for sale on the Tradepost will now list in color text.
* Items of a level you cannot use will be listed in red.
* It should now be possible to search for necklaces, rings, gems, and consumables.

* Cotton and Cottonwisp have been fixed, and will be the correct level.
* Any player who speaks to a crafter trainer and doesn't get the quest because he has a full quest journal will now be able to speak to the trainer again and get the quests at a later stage.
* Resource harvesting animations have been tweaked for consistency.
* The items you hand in to the Crafter Trainers will from now on be returned to you. This change applies to the Weaponsmith, Armorsmith, Alchemist, and Architect classes.
* Trainer dialog was updated to reflect current names of buildings in Architect quest line.
* The Weaponsmith Trainer's dialog no longer references Glaive, but Awl Pike.

World Design
* Various visual fixes and improvements made in Khemi and Kheshatta.
* Adjusted several areas with added collision, where players previously could become stuck on terrain.
* Pyramid of Lord Atum-Keket: Door collision has been adjusted here.
* Underhalls: The rez point in the "Uptown Sewer" should now be fully visible.
* Underhalls: The upper climbing point on the right ladder for the Harbor entrance has been tweaked.
* Underhalls: The zone called "Askia" is now renamed "Askia's Domain".
* Underhalls: The lost jewel is now placed on the ground, and the respawn timer has changed from 60 to 30 seconds.
* Wild Lands of Zelata: Collision on the stairs inside the Mayor's building has been adjusted.


*Logging into the game after logging out to the login screen will no longer cause the client to crash.
*You can now use '<' in chat messages.

*Inventory bags have all had their prices reduced by 20%-50%.
*The price of regular mounts have been reduced to 75 silver, down from 2 gold.
*The 'Totem of Origins' may now be found on select bosses.
*Mounts can no longer be sold.

*Certain bosses were using combos they weren't supposed to. This has been fixed.

World Design:
*Fixed several spots in Kheshatta where you could fall through the world.

*We removed the nerf to quest xp when they are grey. They will now award XP.

Age of Conan: My Experience: Part 1

Posted by Artermis Friday July 11 2008 at 9:16AM
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I thought it was about time i posted my actual experiences and feelings towards Age of Conan. I guess i come across as a fanboi, and if enjoying a game means that then i am. I certainly dont defend them when they make mistakes. First off, I dont believe i am naive and will look at any 'issues' pros and cons and make up my own mind about things.

I have played online games for many years now, and have been in several betas and their launches. So im very much aware of what goes on. I am not employed by funcom nor any other game developing company, although over the past 20 years I have designed, developed and released (for free) several online games all with varying popularity on different platforms.

Before age of conan I played world of warcraft (GM of a pve raiding guild) virtually none stop for 3 years, excessive i agree and i learned alot from that time (if i could time travel to get that time back i wouldnt hesitate lol). For the first couple of years in wow I had a great time, nothing much to complain about. The game was already 1 year old so any issues with launch I was free from. Only problems i encountered was a fair number of connection issues in the first few months, lag and server overload when they held special events like the gates of AQ opening. In my last year on wow, i became very aware of the routine i was doing i.e. logging in and farming 45 minutes doing dailies then raiding then logging off and repeat daily. It really got to me in the end so decided I wanted something new, as did many of my guildies so we moved to AoC.

Right, now part of my background is out of the way, here is my views on age of conan:

I am a guild leader on the Dagon EU Server, main character name Romanas, website:

Game bugs/issues:

I'm in agreement with many that AoC was certainly released too early. I think we have to give funcom some common sense so they must of been aware of the state it was in on launch. The only thing I can think of is that it was a monetary issue, whether that means they were running out of money or they wanted to benefit from releasing before war and the wow expansion.

However, having said that, it seems to me that funcom has gone leaps and bounds in solving game bugs/issues. Lengthy patch notes intitially twice a week, now once a week. There is now a test server and test forums for players to help out in finding problems and getting them fixed. Props to funcom on getting this up and running quickly. Heres the patch notes for the 16th (Preliminary) July:

Funcom certainly have the bull by the horns at the moment, and are working hard to fix bugs/issues. You cant deny that.

Part 2 to come: The game itself

Darkfall takes a step closer to release!

Posted by Artermis Tuesday July 1 2008 at 8:59AM
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Good news on the mmo front, for the eagerly awaited darkfall mmorpg taking a step closer to actual release. Considering the game has held the #1 spot with duke nukem forever as possible vapourware (yes figures i took from my ass but pretty accurate?) recent events have blighted those rumours.

Darkfall News:

Latest Announcement:

and being discussed in the infamous forums:

Even myself, has remained fairly sceptical in the early days whether this game woold actually make it to release.

Features you would like to see?

Posted by Artermis Thursday July 12 2007 at 10:06AM
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Just a simple post to ask the community what you would like to see in a new mmo.

NPCs with AI

Posted by Artermis Thursday July 12 2007 at 10:04AM
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As my focus on the game is to make one that is as dynamic, and not static, as possible I was thinking about npc AI (none player character artificial intelligence).


Now, the few mmo games ive played, they have always either been static as in stood still, or slightly dynamic in that they have a path that never changes, attacks an enemy that has pvp on. Very limited AI indeed.


If my game was to have npcs (and really it will probably have to have as there could be too many pitfalls without them) then id like it to have something like this :


They have basic instructions as default, like attack anything that attacks it, move from point a to point b and back again. But also, the ability to give them commands that they remember. Possibly attack a certain race or a certain player name, give them co-ordinates that they patrol and the choice to deviate slightly from that patrol.


A game being developed called darkfall ( i believe will have AI like im talking about. Nobody really knows how advanced as info given out by them is limited. Im aware of vapourware claims but please do not populate this blog with any references to that. Its an idea they intend using, and i like that idea :)


If anyone has suggestions on how we can expand NPC AI then please post them. What roles can they have? What skills do they have? what exactly can they do...

A more indepth Guild System

Posted by Artermis Thursday July 12 2007 at 7:44AM
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In my days playing wow (i still do) I always thought the guild system was lacking in depth. I know the saying KISS (keep it simple stupid) may spring to mind but at the end of the day what do guilds get out of all their hard work? Especially the leaders to keep the guild together. Nothing usually. Considering keeping guildies happy helps to keep the players paying their subscriptions I feel they deserve better than nothing.


One of the things that spring to mind is certainly Guild Housing. Im aware guilds form and break up virtually all the time. But, how about new guilds get the basic guild housing in the town, and more progressive guilds that have been around awhile get a more 'prestige' location for their guild housing.


A guild bank is another thing i would want to have. Relying on guildies to control character guild banks are a bit silly especially if you cant be sure theyre not swindling the bank or suddenly head off on holiday temporarily or permanantly without warning!


So i wanted to discuss here, any features you would like to see in a new guild system.

Player owned shops

Posted by Artermis Thursday July 12 2007 at 6:56AM
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I think its imperative in next gen mmo's that player owned shops. Yes i know thats nothing new but im pretty sure it can be expanded on and made more interesting. Honestly, im not even sure how games with player run shops work, and i will check it out in the future but.....


My ideal player run shops wouldnt be just selling items that have been farmed, but also trade skills. For example a player could learn blacksmithing and that wouldnt just allow him to make equipment but also to repair it too. As long as he sets up the anvil and has the necessary tools. Another example being a 'magic' shop that doesnt just sell farmed ingredients to sell but can train other players with spells using the 'new skill system idea by the in-game games' post i made at


Im aware that a player may not want to stand in his shop all day giving this service and for the simple selling of items/ingredients they wont have to, they can employ an npc to do this, or even another player! However to learn other players of new skills, then perhaps they do have to be present, so they could give some time to do this.


My game, i really want to have some kind of community feel to it, far too many times i see games that simply have too many towns/cities/areas that are ghost places. I want people to go to a particular town to do things and make a vibrant community, so that in those circumstances players will want to manage their shops properly, and not rely on 'npcs' to do things for them!!

A new skill system

Posted by Artermis Thursday July 12 2007 at 5:51AM
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Ive touched on this briefly in another post but i had a bright idea on how to put two ideas into 1! Lets see, im not too keen on current skill, levelling, class systems, i came up with this idea. This system could easily replace a typical class system mmo.


Skills are on a ladder system, the lowest rung contains the low skill and as you move up you can pick up new skills. Maybe depending on what skills you take determines the 'offshoot' skills you can head for. Top of the ladder being the best skills obviously. Possibly depending on the skills you head for gives you 'class names' or something like that with other benefits. Sketchy on that part really at the moment.


Say you wanted to learn basic ranged weapon skill, you would have to find a trainer (or player) who has the skill. Id like to think that players are the main source of learning other players skills and have to actually spend time to train them in the basics at least. Obviously they wouldnt do this for nothing and are maybe paid. Possibly npc trainers would just give the basic skills and the players train other players the higher skills as they learn them (sketchy on this but i hope you can see the potential).


How about, to actually learn the skill you have to complete some 'ingame' games which maybe gradually skill you up until you hit the new skill you were after! For example, for the basic ranged weapon skill you have to purchase the weapon and then throw or fire the item/ammo at a target scoring points based on your accuracy. Maybe you have to run down  a street and target dummies appear at random locations you have to shoot? A player could learn basic paddle boating by travelling down rapids trying to navigate through points. The list could be endless.....obviously these games need making but a great potential for developement here, could also get players to suggest skills/games..

 Id think you can probably still 'skillup' by using the skill as normal but the actually learning of new skills would be the ingame game :) The more i think about this, the more i love about it. Sorry for stroking my own epeen lol but current skill systems in games are just so boring and nothing to them at all.

It's got good potential i think? Would make skilling up interesting and fun.



Linking ingame to outgame

Posted by Artermis Wednesday July 11 2007 at 4:09AM
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Ive read about this in a couple of places and think its a great idea. A mmo that communicates messages for instance to your email or mobile phone, on specific events in the mmo that could affect your character.


Say for instance, the mmo is a world conquest game, you could recieve an email that your town has been layed siege to, or even your market transaction has been purchased, a daily report on how your player run shop has performed. Possibilities are endless. The player could of course make settings to determine what kind of message they do/do not recieve.


The could be an ingame messenger much like msn messenger to contact players out of game. Maybe even an out of game chat linked with ingame guild chat, for those who cannot access the client at specific times.


What other methods / reasons of this type of communication and any benefits to the game as a whole could there be ?

PVE a letdown?

Posted by Artermis Tuesday July 10 2007 at 7:56AM
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So you have just delved into the newest MMO released and your looking for some raiding. As usual, you find out theres 20 dungeons, can only enter them if you have either the correct level, and/or finished an attunement quest line. Whats more theres 5 bosses in there, and drop your equipment upgrades.


Sounds ok, until you start raiding in those conditions. What you find is:


Six months later, you have killed those 5 bosses every single week and has dropped 3 out of your 8 item upgrades. If your not bored yet, you have a mind of steel. I agree, the first 3 or 4 times you have conquered that boss it was great. But it didnt drop the loot you wanted so have to repeat the instance until it does or you get something elsewhere thats better. The fun i once had in that instance disappeared about 8 weeks into the dungeon. Same trash mobs, same bosses....boring eventually.


In world of warcraft my hunter has been going to karazhan for the last 4 months, every week without fail, and still doesnt have the bow drop! Never seen it! How annoying is that. The alternative is to keep underperforming against other classes, or go pvp and get a near identical bow from there. But im there to raid not pvp all day.....and night.


So, shouldnt raiding be a little more interesting than that? There is no dynamic, its the same old same old rubbish. Im pretty sure alot of raiders feel this way.


So how can we make dungeons (or instances) more exciting? Im at work atm so will post my ideas shortly.